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GS1 Canada Revamps RFID Policy Forum

The updated forum will work to encourage discussion about all aspects of RFID-based electronic business processes, as well as provide the public with facts and research.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jul 11, 2008GS1 Canada has created a new forum aimed at providing businesses and the public with information and research regarding radio frequency identification and its intersection with government policy. In so doing, the organization hopes to encourage the understanding of RFID's adoption and role in Canadian commerce, and to provide a source of neutral information about RFID.

The RFID Policy Forum, made up of leaders from trade associations, the public sector and industry, is not attempting to help shape public policy, according to Eileen Mac Donald, GS1 Canada's COO. Rather, she says, its goal is to serve as a national leader to encourage discussion about all aspects of RFID-based electronic business processes, and to provide the public with facts and research.

Eileen Mac Donald
GS1 Canada is a nonprofit organization that promotes and maintains global standards for the identification of goods, locations and related e-commerce communication. The new forum is an evolution of the GS1 Canada Public Policy Forum, established in 2006 by GS1 Canada to lead the discussion on—and to conduct analysis of—critical public policy issues in Canada arising from the adoption of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) and RFID (see Major Companies Establish Canada Public-Policy Forum).

As participants analyzed, discussed and collaborated on various public policy issues, Mac Donald explains, the forum's focus and mandate changed. Therefore, the organization opted to modify the forum's governance, structure and terms of reference—documents describing the mission, vision and objectives of each of its working groups. The new forum is just getting underway, Mac Donald says, and GS1 Canada is currently "building appropriate communities of interest and identifying who needs to be at the table." Central to the forum's objectives is strengthening the public's awareness and understanding of the use and implications of RFID.

There are currently 15 members on the group's steering committee, including Arthur Smith, president and CEO of GS1 Canada; Elizabeth Board, executive director of the EPCglobal Public Policy Steering Committee; Zoe Strickland, VP and chief privacy officer of Wal-Mart Stores; Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's information and privacy commissioner; Frank Work, information and privacy commissioner of Alberta; Gordon Miller, environmental commissioner of Ontario; and several leaders of Canadian industry associations. The forum plans to center its work around three major issues—privacy, the environment and communication—and, accordingly, has formed three working groups.

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